Reading and Understanding Coupons

March 31, 2017

Read a coupon and understanding everything that is stated can sometimes be a very confusing and frustrating process for new couponers, and even sometimes for veteran couponers. Just like the body there is a specific anatomy of a coupon and we are here to explain it to you.

 

Each coupon has a set amount on that coupon. IE buy 1 save $1.00 that means that coupon is good on that one product. The easiest way to explain it is that one coupon covers that one product and no other manufacturer coupons can be used on that item. That includes a manufacturer percentage off or a manufacturer try me free etc. Each coupon has to be satisfied separately .  No other manufacturer in any case can be stacked with another manufacturer coupon. 

 

 

Expiration Date:  All coupons have an expiration date.  Some have an expiration date that actually says “No expiration date.”  Stores usually will not accept coupons that do not have expiration dates.  You can use the coupon through the date of the expiration date.  If the coupon’s expiration date is 10/6/2009, you can use the coupon until 11:59 pm on 10/6/2009.

 

Value:  This simply tells you how much will be deducted from your purchase. If it says “Save $1 on 2 boxes of cereal” then you will save $1 total on your purchase (not $1 per box).

Wording:  This is the most important part of the coupon.  It is how you know what the coupon is for!  If the coupon says “save on ANY xyz product” then it truly can be used on any, not just what is pictured.

 

Picture:  The picture on the coupon can be useful if you have never heard of the product, and can help you locate the item on the shelf.  The picture helps build product recognition and is a great form of advertising for the manufacturer.  The picture is NOT what is important though.  The manufacturer’s generally put the newest or most expensive product in the picture, obviously hoping you will buy that product.  As long as you follow what is in the wording of the coupon, you can usually get the lowest priced product which is generally the better deal.

 

Fine Print:  The fine print is usually information for the retailers including the coupon redemption address.  There are usually one or two lines that are intended for the consumer though.  Limit one coupon per purchase? Coupons typically have some version of that statement.  I would like to explain each of them to you so that you can in turn explain them to your cashiers (which I can guarantee will happen at some point).

 

Limit one coupon per purchase.  Each qualifying item(s) is a purchase.  If the coupon is for $1 off 2 boxes of cereal and you buy 2 boxes, that is 1 purchase.  If you bought 2 more, that is another purchase and you can use another $1/2 coupon.  This is on just about every coupon.  It means you can not use 2 coupons on 1 product.
 

Limit one coupon per transaction.  This means you can only use one of each coupon per transaction.  Each transaction is concluded with a receipt.
 

Limit one coupon per day/visit.  You can only use one of those coupons per store visit.
 

Limit one coupon per person/customer/household. You can only use one of these coupon

 

 

 

Piggybacking/Stacking Coupons:  "The combination and use of two or more coupons on the purchase of a singular product."

First, one must note that only ONE manufacturers coupon may be used per product - read the fine print on almost every coupon in circulation and you'll find this restriction.  After that, the concept is quite simple in my opinion.  We've all had a piggyback ride as a child.  Our fathers hoisted us onto their backs and jumped around the backyard thrilling our little hearts at one point or another.  We, basically, stacked our body on top of his - 2 people, 1 equal ride?  It's the same idea in this coupon strategy.   Can you use 2 coupons to buy 1 product?  Did both piggyback participants (say that 10 times fast) get the same ride? The answer in my opinion is no.  

This concept is sometimes difficult to explain so I have two scenarios that I hope will shed some light on the subject:

Scenario #1: 
 

                 Buy One                                                       Get One                


Imagine that I bought 2 bottles of Mr. Clean Liquid using a B1G1F coupon.  Awesome right - that means one bottle is totally free!  But, I also have an additional $1.00/1 Mr. Clean coupon that I want to use - can I?  The theory here is that the B1G1F coupon is ONLY being used on the FREE bottle so shoppers should still be able to use a coupon on the first bottle.  

But, ask yourself this question "What am I required by the manufacturer to buy in order to use a B1G1F coupon?" The answer is two bottles - you could surely place only 1 bottle on the conveyor belt and not get a second bottle for free but what would be the point - the coupon would not be valid!  In order to use a Buy One Get One Free coupon TWO products MUST be placed on the counter.  Two products are REQUIRED for the coupon to be valid and take effect.  That means that the coupon has definitively been used on both products.  Could you then piggyback or stack another $1.00/1 coupon on top of this transaction - no, as a manufacturers coupon has already been used on both items purchased and there is a strict limit of one manufacturers coupon per product.  You would have to buy 3 bottles of Mr. Clean to use a B1G1F coupon and an additional $1.00 coupon in one transaction.

Scenario #2:
 

Buy One                      Get One                     Get One?

We're buying the same two bottles of  Mr. Clean - except I have a Buy One Get One Free coupon and a Buy One Bottle and get a Magic Eraser FREE coupon.  Could I buy one bottle and get a free bottle + a FREE Magic Eraser?  No.  This could literally be an unending situation where you have multiple FREE product coupons when you pay for only one product.  You can't keep getting more and more items for free on top of the B1G1F coupon.  Again - " What am I required by the manufacturer to buy in order to use a B1G1F coupon?"  If a Buy One Get One Free coupon counts as a coupon being used on both products you can't keep adding more coupons.  This would violate coupon guidelines.  Limit 1 coupon per product.
Clear as mud right? - but all you have to do is apply the "what am I required to buy" question and the answer should be crystal clear.  And, remember, you can still stack a manufacturer coupon and an in-ad store coupon together when allowed by the store as long as only one is a manufacturers coupon.

Stacking coupons: Stacking coupons is when you stack a manufacter coupon and a store coupon. This can be but not limited to, mobile store coupons, store printed coupons etc.

 

Doubling Coupons: is when a store allows that coupon amount up to a limit to automatically double. IE if you have a coupon for .50 it doubles to $1.00, .75 to $1.50 and so on. Most stores that allow doubling are grocery stores up to a certain limit. Kmart has special days that are called Kmart Double Days and they allow the doubling of a coupon up to $2.00 after you spend $25.00. They allow up to 5 coupons to double up to a $2.00 to $4.00. In order for your coupons to double, you must be a loyal card holder. Check with your local store with complete instructions on how to join and get a club card. Most time it is as easy as signing up at the customer service desk.

 

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